Monthly Archives: May 2011

Soviet joke of the day

Five Things To Remember In The Soviet Union Ruled By Stalin

1. Do not think.
2. If you thought, do not say.
3. If you said, do not write.
4. If you wrote, do not sign.
5. If you signed, recall.

via Soviet Jokes in Translation.


“A meaningless protest vote”

Fred Schmidt writes to justify his May 16 vote to fund surveillance cameras in downtown Columbia. And justification is sorely needed: Not only did First Ward voters choose to reject the installation of surveillance cameras, but Fred himself ran for office on an anti-camera stance.

Fred’s best argument for voting to fund the surveillance cameras is that “nothing would have been gained by a meaningless protest vote”. Perhaps in Fred’s decision calculus nothing would have been gained, but perhaps we can articulate what has been lost.

To represent others in an elected, decision-making body is a difficult task. Nevertheless, Fred could have at least forced a council debate over spending priorities. The First Ward is short a fire company and lacks a competent police force, yet Fred could have represented his constituents by representing their views in open council and initiating a debate.

Moreover, there is a matter of integrity. One should not run for elected office opposing something and flip flop on that issue at the first available opportunity. Can First Ward voters trust Fred from here on out? Will any of the promises Fred made during his campaign stick or will we find that political expediency and power politics are the most important determinants of Fred’s vote?

Only time, and your pocketbooks, will tell.

More here:


Tagged , , ,

Eco on Thackeray

From this interview published in the Guardian:

UE: When people ask whether I’ve read this or that book, I’ve found that a safe answer is, “You know, I don’t read, I write.” That shuts them up. Although some of the questions come up time and time again: “Have you read Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair?” I ended up giving in and trying to read it, on three different occasions. But I found it terribly dull.

Tagged , ,

Obama the tactician

John Pavlus:

How do you kill a concept? Common wisdom is that you can’t. Just ask Bruce Wayne.

Except we just did. Just ask Osama bin Laden. Or rather, ask the Obama administration, who skillfully and quite brilliantly designed a way to not just capture an enemy of the state, but effectively neutralize the symbol he embodied.

The entire post is worth the read, and I am curious what someone like Umberto Eco might add to the discussion.

Tagged , ,